Submitted to: Society of Range Management
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: October 1, 2010
Publication Date: February 6, 2011
Citation: Reinhart, K.O., Murphy, C.J. 2011. Understanding priority effects may help improve restoration outcomes and establishment of Artemisia tridentata spp. wyomingensis. Society of Range Management. 64th Annual Meeting of the Society of Range Management Abstract #293. Technical Abstract: Priority effects, where an earlier growing species affects the establishment, growth, and reproduction of a later growing species, may have lasting effects on the dominance of the system and should be considered when developing a restoration plan. Here we explore the effect of soil pre-conditioning (i.e. soil legacies-a mechanism for priority effects) by nine to ten mixed-grass prairie species on growth of Artemisia tridentata spp. wyomingensis using a plant-soil biota feedback experiment designed to detect soil biota effects (i.e. microbial effects) while controlling for nutrient effects. Soil inocula for this study originated from two mixed-grass prairie sites in eastern Montana. Beneficial effects of soil preconditioning (i.e. feedback) on sagebrush growth were detected when soil was pre-conditioned by Artemisia frigida, Koeleria macrantha, and Sphaeralcea coccinea. Negative effects were observed for soil conditioned by Hesperostipa comata, Poa secunda, Sphaeralcea coccinea, and Vulpia microstachys. Effects varied with soil origin (i.e. site effects) suggesting some conditionality of results. Although not conclusive, this work has identified some species that may inhibit A. tridentata spp. wyomingensis via. changes in soil biota and other species that may promote its establishment via. changes in soil biota. Incorporating knowledge of soil feedback effects (i.e. soil legacies) and priority effects may ultimately help inform decisions related to assembling species mixes and/or successive planting strategies. Restoring systems that naturally develop over successional time is challenging and outcomes are often uncertain, added knowledge of priority effects will increase the odds of establishing relevant species.